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Otz of Luck

[whitespace] Just what do we call the next century? And who cares anyway?

By Will Durst

OH LAWDY, Lawdy, Lawdy--like we don't have enough in the world to worry about, USA Today has declared a "What Do We Call the Next Decade?" emergency. "Brnngh! Brnngh! Brnngh! People, we're going to Def-Con 4. Move it. Move it. Move it. Gunderman!"

Of course, you might want to take this crisis with a grain of salt the size of Rudy Giuliani's ego, since USA Today is to journalism what a double bacon cheeseburger is to nutrition. Popular, but a steady diet often proves fattening. The lambada: dance of the millennium, my ass.

The usual suspects have been nominated, but no clear winner has emerged. The Zeroes. The Zips. The Nadas. The Preteens. The Pre-tens. The Oh-Ohs. The Double Ohs. And my favorite: Fred.

The author maintains no one knows what the 1900-1909 decade was called either, then quotes Ronald Grele of the Oral History Research Office at Columbia University (don't we poor twitching scribes paid by the word love those titles?). He said World War II "became such a turning point in American life, the teens and aughts faded into 'before the war.' "

Ding Ding Ding Ding! No more calls, we have a wiener. People, it's the aughts. And since we are so hip and so tragically choke-on-our-radicchio-pesto au courant, it is incumbent upon us to put our own little post-neo-modernist calliope spin on it.

The Otz. There you go. Crisis averted. Go back to your lambada lessons.

Y2K Sharing

HEY, GUYS, guess what? The Good Samaritan law that passed earlier this fall to goose corporate firms into sharing information and technology with one another to help fight the Y2K problem has been deemed a failure.

Who would have thunk?

Next you'll tell me the Republican congressional leadership didn't shell out the big bucks in contributions to the Clinton impeachment defense fund.

The Y2K glitch, for those of you who have spent the last couple of years as Ted Kascinsky's weird hermit neighbor, is where computers get stupider than a rejected Jerry Springer guest and think that when the date changes to the year 2000, it's actually the start of a four-month period in the 15th century and try to hide their operating systems in the south of France in order to avoid the Spanish Inquisition.

Or something like that.

But nobody wants to share information, because lawyers have warned them they'll be liable in case they pass on bad info even though the bill says they won't.

Of course, nobody will really know if it is or isn't a problem until the millennium rolls around. And then we'll be able to see exactly what's going down by watching the countries across the International Dateline.

So for the first time in our history, we'll be able to say, "As goes New Zealand, so goes the world."

You Can't Make Stuff up Like This

  • Doctors in Louisville performed the first hand transplant, but it won't be considered a real success until the patient picks up the bill.

  • Is it just me, or was Teddy Kennedy strangely silent during the whole Clinton thing? And he was the perfect guy to offer up expert testimony.

  • Q: What do you call Al Gore leaning on a podium?

    A: A wood pile.

  • The good news is Whoopi Goldberg is going to host the Oscars. The better news is production on Hollywood Squares will shut down for at least a week.

  • The city of Los Angeles has limited gun purchases to one a month. I wonder if you can get a waiver if you can produce a note from your principal.

  • During the impeachment proceedings, members of Congress kept saying they were voting their conscience. Yeah, right, Congresspeople voting their conscience is a lot like a turtle flexing its wings.

  • Disney recalled videocassettes of The Rescuers because it contained two frames showing naked breasts. It will be repackaged and re-released at a higher price.

  • In Washington, D.C., a mayoral assistant used the word niggardly in front of people who didn't know what it meant, were offended, and forced him to resign. If this internal word pejorative-seeking becomes the vogue, we'll never be able to say the word country again.


San Francisco comic Will Durst is an occasional contributor to the Independent. Columnist Bob Harris is lost in the ozone.

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From the March 4-10, 1999 issue of the Sonoma County Independent.

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